RS passes ‘futuristic’ Energy Conservation Bill to further regulate carbon emissions

The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill clearing the decks for “mandate use of non-fossil sources”, including green hydrogen, green ammonia, biomass and ethanol for energy and feedstock and establish Carbon Markets in the country.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill in August.

Replying to a debate on the Bill, Power Minister R.K. Singh termed the Bill futuristic and said it will give an impetus to India’s efforts to go for greener sources of energy.

Mr. Singh said the Bill aims to bring large residential buildings, with a minimum connected load of 100 Kilowatt (kW) or contract demand of 120 Kilovolt Ampere (kVA), within the fold of energy conservation regime. He said the States, if they wish, can bring down the connected load and contract demand.

The Bill, according to him, will also enhance the scope of Energy Conservation Building Code, amend penalty provisions, increase members in the Governing Council of Bureau of Energy Efficiency and empower the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions to make regulations for smooth discharge of its functions.

The Opposition, however, found flaws in the Bill. DMK member P. Wilson said the Bill has a lot of legal infirmities which go to the root of the matter and requires re-consideration and reintroduction. He added that the Bill is ultra vires of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

“While the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 deals with saving energy, the present Bill deals with saving environment and conserving climate change due to usage of fossil and non-fossil fuels while generating electricity. The scope and objective of the principal Act does not take in the purpose and object of the present Bill. The Bill relates to monitoring and controlling of carbon emission and climate change, which is an aspect of the environmental laws,” Mr. Wilson said.

The Bill, according to R.K. Singh, will enhance the scope of Energy Conservation Building Code